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Old 03-11-2014, 04:33 PM   #21
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For the younger persons... knob and tube wiring, switches and plugs that we grew up with...
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:37 PM   #22
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I believe it was Archie Bunker who educated us on the toilet paper. . . .


...and NEVER a sock and a shoe and a sock and a shoe. It's always a sock and a sock then a shoe and a shoe.

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Old 03-11-2014, 04:57 PM   #23
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This thread went into the toilet faster than most...
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Old 03-11-2014, 05:02 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
...
Not doubting your observation at all, but I can't remember ever seeing a 120V outlet with the ground prong on top. Though it's just as easy to install 'upside down' - no self-respecting electrician would do it. ...
I do recall coming across a discussion on a site dedicated to code enforcers/inspectors, and several of them were making the case for 'upside down' (I won't call it 'wrong') plug - and it appears to actually be code in some cases - so that 'self -respecting' electrician better know the code!


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The National Electrical Code, which is commonly but not exclusively adopted by local authorities having jurisdiction, specifies that three-prong outlets should have the ground facing up in certain circumstances -- particularly hospitals. ... it is safer to have the ground on top in case a plug is partially pulled out and something metallic, like a paper clip or pen, falls across the prongs.
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...

Apparently at one time it was the electrical code for some areas. Years ago I read somwhere that the purpose was to avoid bare wire or paper clips or some such falling on the partiallly seated plug and cause a short. I all my life I never heard of any bare wire accidentally falling on a partially seated plug's terminals and causing problems. ...
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What I have heard also, it prevents a shock or shorting if something slips down between the wall and the plug. ...
And if you think it can't happen - it happened to us! Our kid was trying to fish something out from behind his bed with an aluminum yardstick. It swung and shorted on a plug that was partially pulled out. Wham - kazamm-sparks-excitement!!!!

Being swung from the side (and the plug was arranged horizontally - so turning it brings neutral to the top, rather than hot) is a little different than something falling from the top, but a similar concern. The code people were saying that a sideways socket was safer with the neutral (the wide slot) on the top, and a vertical socket with ground at the top, so something falling would not be as likely to contact a hot leg.

But neutral and ground on the bottom seems to be common. I just noticed my kitchen has a vertical oriented duplex, and ground is on the top. I never noticed before!

For the OP - I've noticed that some devices that are designed to plug directly in and where the orientation matters to the user have a rotate-able plug on them. Something to look for.

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Old 03-11-2014, 05:36 PM   #25
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I worry a lot, too, about the proper way to hang toilet paper. Of course any fool knows the end should be away for the wall.
Of course. That is the natural and proper order of things, as explained here: http://currentconfig.com/2005/02/22/...nder-is-wrong/

Of course any decision can be made more complex by offering more choices. If the roll is hung vertically, should the flap be to the right or to the left? Or if it isn't hung at all, but merely placed on a nearby shelf, does it matter which finger the roll is hung upon to unspool it or which hand is used? The Absolute Right Way to Hang Toilet Paper. Maybe

Being retired means you have time to research and contemplate the universal significance of such important questions, setting aside such trivial irrelevancies such as whether the Republicans or Democrats or both are idiots.
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Old 03-11-2014, 05:38 PM   #26
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You learn something every day (at least I try to).

While the ground down "happy face" has been the norm (and many plugs/devices are designed that way) and outlets are depicted in that orientation even in lots of electrical training and reference materials, from what I can gather most manufacturers and professional trades actually recommend ground up for the reasons others have noted above. Reason being, if anything metallic, especially a metallic cover should fall on a partially removed plug the first thing it will contact is a GROUND, not 'hot' and 'neutral.' Hopefully that will prevent a shock by tripping the breaker or opening the fuse. Electrical cover plates, not normally found in residential, are the primary but not the only reason. People have been shocked not only due to metal cover plates, but picture hanging wires, antenna/speaker wires, paper clips and even "nun's rosaries" are seemingly part of installers lore.

To add to the confusion, it's not specified in national code, but it's specified ground up in some local code, and ground down in others. I looked at the Levitan site (manufacturer) and they seem to show residential down and commercial up!

Good thing it's so easy for homeowners to flip them if so desired.
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Old 03-11-2014, 05:39 PM   #27
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I've seen them mounted ground up when they were switched circuits, but usually ground down
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:01 PM   #28
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Mine are not up or down - they are sideways! I have surveyed the house and found that some are to the left and some to the right - no discernible pattern. Seems to have worked for 30 years... I guess i'll put this in the "Oh Well" bucket.
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Upside down wall plugs
Old 03-11-2014, 06:19 PM   #29
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Upside down wall plugs

I installed all of mine ground down and the inspector approved it, I don't remember seeing any mounted upside down anywhere.
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:56 PM   #30
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aaronc879, could you check your wall plugs against the pictures of the inverse? It looks like a picture is flipped. The wide blade should be on the other side.
Mine have the ground on top but, unlike the picture, the wide blade is on the right.
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:58 PM   #31
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You learn something every day (at least I try to)To add to the confusion, it's not specified in national code, but it's specified ground up in some local code, and ground down in others. I looked at the Levitan site (manufacturer) and they seem to show residential down and commercial up!
Yep, it's described here. NEMA connector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:03 PM   #32
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Of course. That is the natural and proper order of things, as explained here: http://currentconfig.com/2005/02/22/...nder-is-wrong/

Of course any decision can be made more complex by offering more choices. If the roll is hung vertically, should the flap be to the right or to the left? Or if it isn't hung at all, but merely placed on a nearby shelf, does it matter which finger the roll is hung upon to unspool it or which hand is used? The Absolute Right Way to Hang Toilet Paper. Maybe

Being retired means you have time to research and contemplate the universal significance of such important questions, setting aside such trivial irrelevancies such as whether the Republicans or Democrats or both are idiots.
IIRC Maybe twenty years ago Oprah actually did a whole show on the proper way to mount toilet paper. From the women's perspective. You know she was short on material those days.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:49 PM   #33
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... from what I can gather most manufacturers and professional trades actually recommend ground up for the reasons others have noted above. Reason being, if anything metallic, especially a metallic cover should fall on a partially removed plug the first thing it will contact is a GROUND, not 'hot' and 'neutral.' Hopefully that will prevent a shock by tripping the breaker or opening the fuse. ...
To be clear, some of that info is not really accurate. The first part is correct:

Reason being, if anything metallic, especially a metallic cover should fall on a partially removed plug the first thing it will contact is a GROUND, not 'hot' and 'neutral.'

But it does not follow that:

Hopefully that will prevent a shock by tripping the breaker or opening the fuse.

When a metallic cover touches the ground or neutral, nothing will happen. That's the point. They are all near zero voltage potential, there is no shock hazard and the circuit breaker/fuse will not trip - no excess current is flowing.

The cover would need to touch the hot spade and either neutral or ground (maybe through its screws) to trip a breaker/fuse.

As an aside, a GFCI will protect against electrocution - it is triggered by very small differences in current between hot and neutral (meaning the current is going somewhere else - like a human body to ground). But a fuse/breaker won't protect against electrocution - the current that kills is far less than any breaker rating. Fuses/breakers are to prevent fires.

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Old 03-11-2014, 09:09 PM   #34
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I would remover the cover plate, unscrew the outlet, rotate 180 deg., and re-assemble.

Most days I'd probably turn off the power to that leg before doing this...
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:28 PM   #35
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The outlets in our house have the ground wire up. When I've pulled off the cover plates in the past and looked at the outlet/socket it was clearly marked with up (or top I don't recall for sure).

Hmmm... maybe these were commercial outlets, or maybe the person who installed them was from a commercial rather than residential background.

I've left them in that orientation because it's too difficult to change them in my house. The wiring is old and I don't want to risk cracking the insulation. We do have a few appliances and other corded devices that would be easier to use if the outlets were oriented with the ground under the hot & neutral.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:32 PM   #36
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The National Electrical Code, which is commonly but not exclusively adopted by local authorities having jurisdiction, specifies that three-prong outlets should have the ground facing up in certain circumstances -- particularly hospitals. As for commercial and residential applications, however, there is no such requirement in the NEC. The reason for hospitals is that it is safer to have the ground on top in case a plug is partially pulled out and something metallic, like a paper clip or pen, falls across the prongs.
Just so. Also, when pulling out a plug, note that when it is installed ground down that the hot and neutral prongs pull out first, allowing you to get your finger in for a shock.

Even knowing that, and having managed to get self or other conductive surface in on the prongs, I've wired a dozen or more places ground down. Why? See QWERTY vs. Dvorak.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:53 AM   #37
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Code nuances not withstanding, as long as you have "black-to-brass" on all receptacles, it should be okay. Electricians (and helpers) should know this, but in an effort to finish a job quickly, there may have been a mistake. Easy to check with one of these:

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Old 03-12-2014, 09:55 AM   #38
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Ours were right side up until last week when the new backsplash was installed. Now we're wrong side up. They still work though and that's the main thing.
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Old 03-12-2014, 12:37 PM   #39
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My home had every outlet with the ground on top. After a number of years of putting up with it, I finally rotated all of the outlets, except for a couple that are behind very hard to move furniture (china cabinet, etc). In every case, the wires to the outlet were long enough to just rotate the plug without having to remove the wires. It was a pain to change them, but it did eliminate the annoyance when using electric devices (like co2 detectors) that are designed for ground down outlets.
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Old 03-12-2014, 12:53 PM   #40
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As was said, just turn them the right way.

All of the outlets in my house (except the GFI ones in the bathrooms) were put in upside down. I discovered this when my daughter got a lava lamp night light when she was little...the thing would only plug in upside down, so I turn off the power, took off the cover and turned it 180 degrees, put the cover back on and presto, change-o everything was as it should have been.
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